Hi all!  Here are the headlines for this week.  There’s a theme that will show up towards the end – see if you can guess it.

Great Interactive Drought Tool on the New York Times.  Fun to play with.

Spain’s Crisis Reignites Old Social Conflict:  “The resentment here over land that has been left uncultivated at a time of deepening recession and record joblessness reaches beyond local politicians and landowners to European Union bureaucrats. Agricultural subsidies are criticized by many here as favoring landed interests, paying them not to grow crops when nearly a third of the work force in Andalusia is unemployed.”

Breakfast in America, The Real Cost of Corn:  A smart and accurate breakdown of just how much money the rising price of corn is adding to your grocery bill.  Excellent numbers!  A must read.

What is the Fate for Drought Impacted Farmers?  Video from Bloomberg.  This drought is putting farmers out of business at a time when we need more of them.  I’m also wondering what impact this drought will have on younger people considering farming as a career.

Food Shortages Could Force World into Vegetarianism:   “There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,” the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.  There will be just enough water if the proportion of animal-based foods is limited to 5% of total calories and considerable regional water deficits can be met by a … reliable system of food trade.”

13-Year-Old Persuades Governor to Veto Plastic Bag Bill:  “Illinois student Abby Goldberg, joined by more than 170,000 people who signed her petition on Change.org, has persuaded Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to veto Senate Bill 3442, the “Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act,” a proposed law that would have prohibited communities in Illinois from enacting bans on plastic bags.”

China Frets Over Coming Pork Shortage:  “Faced with sluggish domestic demand and the record cost of fattening animals — the result of a steep rise in the prices of corn and soybeans as drought grips the top exporter, the United States — Chinese hog producers are being forced to sell their herds.  China’s food price cycle is driven in large part by pork, the country’s staple meat. And while it is in abundance now, in about six months, meat stocks are expected to fall as a result of the sell-off, resulting in a surge in prices.”

Floating Farms Could Produce Cheap, Plentiful Produce:  “When you can’t find room on land for something, make it float. It’s a principle that’s already being applied to wind farms to portions of entire cities to golf courses and resorts aimed at restoring island economies wrecked by climate change…  Creating large offshore farms, in that context, doesn’t seem so strange…According to Pinsky, it would cost about $3 million for a two and a half acre floating greenhouse platform…”

Intensive Urban Farming in Vancouver:  “It doesn’t look like much now, but by October the top of a dusty parking garage in the heart of Vancouver expects to be harvesting up to 700 pounds of produce, five days a week.”

Can Urban Agriculture Feed the World?  “Agricultural researchers believe that building indoor farms in the middle of cities could help solve the world’s hunger problem. Experts say that vertical farming could feed up to 10 billion people and make agriculture independent of the weather and the need for land. There’s only one snag: The urban farms need huge amounts of energy…”

As always, please comment!